Virtual reality (VR) and hip-hop are merging together with a new partnership between Digital Mind State and social music platform VRTIFY. The result is UrbanWorld Music, the first virtual and augmented reality (AR) channel to focus on hip-hop music and urban entertainment content.

UrbanWorld Music (powered by VRTIFY) is expected to launch in June, and it will take advantage of the perfect marriage of art and technology. Music ranks as one of the most popular content types for VR, since VR is perfect for quick viewing periods—about the average length of a song. Additionally, hip-hop and urban music generate more than $10 billion per year and hip-hop has over 45 million consumers between the ages of 13 and 34, according to a SLMG study cited in a press release.

Mike Johns, CEO of Digital Mind State, describes the channel plainly: It’s “VR meets soul music! UrbanWorld is the first of its kind platform to support hip-hop and urban entertainment content for VR/AR consumption.”

Johns is joined by the founder and CEO of VRTIFY, Facundo Diaz, and the two talk to [a]listdaily about bringing the hip-hop and virtual reality closer together.

Facundo Diaz, VRTIFY CEO and founder
Facundo Diaz, VRTIFY CEO and founder

How did the partnership to create UrbanWorld Music come together?

[Diaz]: We are a tech company that has developed all of the capabilities to produce and distribute music in immersive technologies. We’ve been working with different artists creating music clips and filming or livestreaming concerts, but we rely on the creativity and the vision from the music industry to take advantage of this amazing technology. It was the right opportunity when Mike brought this idea of a completely new space for urban music creation to us. In this partnership, we are providing the technical tools to bring UrbanWorld Music to life. We are excited about this great opportunity of working with all the UrbanWorld Music team, to re-invent the way Urban Music fans experience and access their favorite music.

What inspired the creation of a hip-hop VR channel?

[Johns]: UrbanWorld was a disrupter during the ringtone days, bringing new revenue streams to a slew of artists who have since remained loyal. Most notable artist we’ve worked with in the past include Oscar award-winning duo, Three Six Mafia, Jerry Springer, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. VR and music have made for the perfect mix to resurrect the name UrbanWorld. While movements were being made in both rock and EDM, not much has been done with the integration between VR, hip-hop and urban entertainment content. We are aiming to change that.

In what ways does this music channel differ from what the VRTIFY platform offers?

[Diaz]: This will be the first full concept channel for us. It is much more than an artist or concert section. UrbanWorld Music is a channel that has entity, per se, and will focus on the spirit of urban music in a new and fully immersive way. It will not only include videos, but it will also include shows, interviews, back stage access, additional content and unique experiences.

How will users access the channel? What VR devices will be supported?

[Diaz]: The channel will be available on the UrbanWorld Music website (360 degrees content) and in most known virtual reality platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus, Android and iOS.

Mike Johns, Digital Mind State CEO
Mike Johns, Digital Mind State CEO

How are you getting the word out about UrbanWorld Music?

[Johns]: We are aggressively going after artists and indie labels within our database as well as sourcing emerging talents.

Why do you think music and VR go so well together?

[Diaz]: Music is not only what we hear. Music is a completely sensorial experience. Music allows us to transport ourselves to new worlds, situations and is a state of mind. Virtual Reality and immersive technologies allow us to create new experiences around music. With the UrbanWorld Music channel, we’ll let urban music fans transport themselves to new music experiences, attend concerts right from the stage, experience what a day in the life of their favorite artist looks like, and have access to new kind of immersive shows.

[Johns]: Virtual Reality allows musicians to be creative and to explore the intersection of art and technology. In addition to that, VR is the new frontier to connect with music fans.